David Archuleta is now moving into the realm of mid-singles. There was a time when he seemed to have everything. He is handsome, talented, charismatic, and wealthy. He is a celebrity. The world has recently learned about his private struggle to maintain his faith amid doubts about his sexual orientation. This has reminded me that we really don't understand what other people are going through--even the ones who seem to have it all.
This post is not about any political or cultural issues related to the LGBT community, as relevant as that may be for other discussions. I love David Archuleta and his music, but he is not the focus of this post either. I want to suggest, instead, that we see many illusions in this world. Many envied David, not knowing how much he struggled or how deeply insecure he felt. As a mid-single, I struggled with celibacy, just like most of you. Sometimes it felt excruciating. But I had the hope of one day being married again and fully sharing myself with a loved one. Thankfully, I have that blessing in my life now. How must it feel for a person of deep faith like David to be faced with the possibility that he may have to choose between his faith and having a partner in life?
How does it feel to be middle-aged and wonder if your best years have passed you by? How does it feel to be a single mom with a large number of children and wonder if any man will have the courage to take on the responsibility of raising a large number of someone else's children? How does it feel to be over 40 and never married? Do you wonder if there is something wrong with you sometimes? How does it feel to be a middle-aged man who has lost his job and feels hopeless to replace it with anything nearly as good? Does it make you wonder if any woman you like will accept you, knowing that you are struggling financially? I could go on and on with this type of questions. I think every mid-single has his or her own private struggle. If yours is not on this brief list, it very well could be.
My purpose is not to focus your mind on struggle, and lack. That will only bring you more of the same. It is to suggest that life presents every mid-single unique challenges. Cathy and I both went through a lot of emotional pain consequent to our divorces after long-term marriages. We really understand each other in a way that most couples don't because of this. We each lost a younger sibling to death, and we understand each other in that way too. After divorce, I went through a lengthy period of depression and anxiety and hopelessness. I was in a huge financial mess that didn't get cleaned up for several years. There were a lot of times when it just felt completely hopeless and overwhelming. Cathy pushed very hard to get her business up and running and to get her financial house in order. However, she took on a lot of stress and anxiety and had a serious health crisis that lasted for years. If I asked any one of you in this group, you can tell me a story about how you have suffered--and maybe how you still suffer.
David Archuleta is a very public person and so we all know about his struggle now. As soon as he revealed it, the world knew. He can't walk down the street without being recognized. But he is moving into his middle years coping with a very human struggle that could have fallen on any of us.
Here is the thing I know. Our Heavenly Parents love us, and the things we struggle with in life are designed to make us into the people they know we can become if we let them. Going through my divorce, the miracle I wanted and prayed for was for my (former) wife to be visited by an Angel like Alma the younger, and have that angel steer her back to me and our family. That was the miracle I wanted. It didn't come--or, if it did, she chose out anyway. But the miracle I got was better than the one I had wanted. My former wife giving up on our marriage made the space in my life for a truly connected and more meaningful love. That is something I had only dreamed about with my former wife. About what C.S. Lewis said:
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."